Vittorio Vidali and the Cominform, 1947–53
Analysing Vittorio Vidali’s life is an experience reminiscent of watching Kurosawa’s film, Rashomon; for, as in that film, the truth (or the evidence we have) is so many-sided and ambiguous that it is difficult to believe it makes up a coherent whole at all. Who was Vittorio Vidali? Was he the Communist full of ideals and wary of deviations, as he portrayed himself in his numerous autobiographical writings, or as described in Mario Passi’s recent hagiography? Was he (as some Western accounts have it) an NKVD agent trained in Moscow — Stalin’s killer sent to Spain and Mexico to fight Trotskyism and then to eliminate Trotsky himself? Or was he, as an outline biography drawn up by the Yugoslav UDB suggests, an adventurer continually willing to play on two or three different chessboards? What is certain is that archive material on Vidali does not allow us to come down unequivocally on one side or the other; for it contains numerous surprises for the historian, complicating matters further and raising still more questions about the ‘jaguar’ of Muggia.
KeywordsCommunist Party European History Secret Service Revolutionary Zeal Italian Coloni
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